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“ECONOMIZATION OF THE MFA, MANAGERIAL MANOEUVRE, RESPONSE TO WORLD CHALLENGES” - EXPERTS EVALUATED THE REORGANIZATION OF THE KAZAKHSTAN GOVERNMENT
The essence of the Kazakhstan Government reshuffle was explained by experts.
In the reorganization of the Ministry of Investment and Development, which was carried out on December 26 by transferring duties, responsibilities and powers to the ministries of national economy and foreign affairs, the key decision concerned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The reorganization strengthened the economic component of the country’s foreign policy agency. Total.kz asked some well-known experts to comment on the decision of the Head of the State.
“Perhaps it is the most expected and necessary decision. In short, it looks like this: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gets the functions of an investment coordinator, as it is, by the way, recognized throughout the world. But the main thing is the utilization of duplicate functions in all the ministries in charge of the attraction of investments” - said the famous Kazakhstan blogger Denis Krivosheyev.
The transfer of functions to implement the state policy for the attraction of investments to the foreign policy agency corresponds to the advanced standards of the states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in particular, in Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Australia, Belgium and others.
“Transformation of the Ministry of Investment and Development into the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development will break the internal conflict of interests, since it is not quite right to engage in search for investments, and then to act partly as a regulator. Attraction of money to the country is an endless holiday of promises, distribution of advances and hopes, and people participating therein should not intersect with those who bring reality in all projects” – Denis Krivosheyev is sure.
According to him, foreign investments are the sphere of interests of not only the MID of the Republic of Kazakhstan but also the Ministries of Energy, Defense Industry, and Agriculture. But responsibility for cash flows into the country on behalf of all the said government agencies was only placed upon one minister.
“Now that this function has been transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the attraction strategy can be improved. Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs keeps a check on all resources including the country’s diplomatic corps and trade delegations” – emphasized Denis Krivosheyev.
In the light of the above, the managerial manoeuvre made by the Head of the State is a response challenges of tomorrow associated with the global environment. In 2019, a new protracted wave of a global crisis is predicted covering the global economy, which demands the improvement of methods and tools of the economic diplomacy from Kazakhstan. That is, the President’s decision actually anticipates challenges of tomorrow.
Regarding the improvement of the state management system, Denis Krivosheyev believes that the restructuring of the ministry will make it possible to focus on a narrower applied sector of objectives in the field of the economic diplomacy and the defense and aerospace industry.
“Particular attention should be paid to the appointment of the Acting Deputy Prime Minister Askar Zhumagaliyev to the Ministry of Defense and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In fact, this indicates the importance of this particular direction of the industry. Arms and space are sold well, they easily attract resources, and, in fact, they are the strengthening” - the blogger suggested.
The Kazakhstan political analyst Talgat Kaliyev also considers the appointment of Beibut Atamkulov as Foreign Minister as “to hit the spot” and agrees to the regularity of the reorganization carried out. According to him, the Ministry of National Economy will synchronize objectives from the standpoint of investment attractiveness, while the objective of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to concentrate all efforts of foreign institutions on the attraction of investments.
“From this point of view, the appointment of Beibut Atamkulov seems to be the most logical as he is the only professional diplomat who is experienced in managing the region and the industrial ministry. That is to say, he has a clear understanding of the operation of the real sector of the economy, and is aware of all the risks and barriers arising on the way of investors coming to the regions” - explained Talgat Kaliyev.
New appointments were commented by Yerbol Yedilov, Managing Director of the GR Consulting Group. The expert also highlighted the business past and economic skills of Beibut Atamkulov who was the General Director of Rakhat Metals from 1996, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rakhat Group of Companies from 2002.
“The new foreign minister has Ph.D. in Economics. Moreover, the theme of his dissertation in 2000 was “Regulation of investment processes in the social sphere by the example of the Republic of Kazakhstan.” It is very important as the Head of the State has said many times that the foreign policy agency should attract investment in the country more actively” - said Yerbol Yedilov.
The economic analyst Rakhim Oshakbayev has shared his recommendations on how the work should be built in a new configuration, emphasizing that he supports the reorganization.
“In the new configuration, in addition to development institutions and embassies, I find it important to involve a variety of consulting companies in cooperation. This work cannot be closed on quasi-companies, for which it is possible to set up a working group or a council from among the consulting and marketing organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the same time, Kazakh Invest and KazakhExport should become platforms for their support, coordination and access to support tools” - the expert is sure.
The Head of the renewed Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural development, Zhenis Kasymbek, also said behind the scenes of the Senate on the external challenges that dictated the decision on reorganization in the lobby of the Senate.
“The market for foreign investments in the world has plummeted in the past two years. Last year, the trend was a 40% decline in the world of foreign investments” - explained Zhenis Kasymbek.
He said that the Committee on Investment Attraction and the National Company Kazakh Invest were transferred from the structure of his ministry to the Foreign Ministry. According to him, he had learned about the final version of the reorganization yesterday from the presidential decree, and before that various scenarios had been discussed.
“These are verified calculated changes, which, in my opinion, will give a real impetus to these issues” - the Minister noted.
Overall, the interviewed experts indicate that the Presidential Decree is another step in the improvement of the state management system as part of the administrative reform. The reorganization will reduce the duplication of functions, and the responsibility of the ministries will be clearly delineated. This will allow Kazakhstan to maintain its position in the struggle to attract investments, innovations and technologies on the way to the top thirty developed countries of the world.